Thursday, July 11, 2013

Revolutionary Love

Image Courtesy of Queer Women Of Color

This was originally published at the Hampton Institute.

This can be considered a follow-up to Revolutionary Freedom.

When we think of love, we often think of the dictionary definition which defines love as a “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” Yet, love can be something more than just a strong attraction we have to people, usually with sexual undertones. Love can be more something radical, something revolutionary.

When thinking attraction, a person’s mind usually goes straight to sexuality and how we can fit people in neat boxes of straight, gay, bisexual, or other sexualities. Yet, it serves as an extension of identity politics and allows people to be caught up in their own personal struggles, such as same-sex marriage, rather than fighting for everyone. This actually limits the spectrum of intimate human interaction and how we relate to one another.

Love is more than just who (if anyone) you are sexually attracted to, it involves actual intimacy and knowing someone. There is a difference and separation between sexual attraction and romantic attraction. One can be sexually attracted to someone, but romantically attracted to someone else as sexual attraction lies in the person’s physicality where as romantic attraction can lie in how a person relates to you on an emotional level.

Such love can manifest itself in different ways, with one example being a romantic friendship which is defined as “a very close but non-sexual relationship between friends, often involving a degree of physical closeness beyond that which is common in the contemporary Western societies, and may include for example holding hands, hugging, kissing, and sharing a bed.” One may be puzzled by this and ask how it is any different from a normal, monogamous relationship. It is in that those relationships consistently have an underlying sexual attraction involved between the two people, whereas a romantic relationship has none of that, but rather is based on an emotional attraction between people.

A part from romance is the level of intimacy within a relationship. While many sexual relationships are intimate, it is possible for a non-sexual relationship to be even more intimate because of the very fact that it is based on emotion and can allow one to truly open themselves up to the other person. In fully opening themselves up to someone, the individuals involved in the relationship become truly vulnerable; unlike in any other relationship they may have had beforehand. This vulnerability allows for a true openness and honesty within the relationship, which only deepens the bonds between those involved.

Yet, love can be more encompassing than just a one-on-one relationship. In regards to the global struggle against oppression on both a micro and macro level, love is extremely important. Solidarity is more than just going to protests to back those groups that we are concerned with. We should deeply are about the issues at hand and love comes into play when we are discussing oppressed groups as we should love the oppressed. It should be a driving force behind what propels us to come to their aid.

Love can be revolutionary in that we can use it to deepen our ties amongst each other in our fight against the system. This love should, first and foremost, be a love of the people. If one wants to fight against the system, it must come from a love of the people because if not, then there will only be a changing of the guard, rather than a fundamental transformation of the current structures.

The revolution must be fueled by love.

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